Hopefully everyone had a fun and safe 4th of July. We are in a bit of a slow time for recruiting news, but this is the time of year that you start to hear some things about the current team and how things are progressing in the summer. Nebraska closed out a strong month of June on the recruiting trail by adding speedy wide receiver Jamie Nance from Oklahoma. Now all eyes turn to July where you will likely hear of quite a few new names getting in the mix after the staff has time take a breather.
Desmond Bland, offensive lineman, Yuma, Arizona
Thomas Grayson, running back, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Jackson Hannah, linebacker, Nashville, Tennesee
Rahmir Johnson, running back, Oradell, New Jersey
Luke McCaffrey, quarterback, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Jamie Nance, wide receiver, Blanchard, Oklahoma
Garrett Nelson, defensive end, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Ethan Piper, defensive tackle, Norfolk, Nebraska
Garrett Snodgrass, athlete, York, Nebraska
Ronald Thompkins, running back, Loganville, Georgia
>>Every offseason it seems like we hear about guys getting after it in the weight room. The summer hits and everyone is working hard to prepare for the upcoming season. It just feels different this summer for a couple of reasons. First, Zach Duval has earned the benefit of the doubt between his work at UCF and the gains he led during the spring. By the looks of his Twitter feed, Mike Williams has certainly taken to the training program.
— Zachary Duval (@zduval1) July 3, 2018
The second reason things feel different this offseason is that I’ve now heard from multiple people that the culture around the weight room is different now. The high level of competition has already set in with the players and guys are holding their own competitions in the weight room. However, that’s not the biggest deal to me. The big thing is that I’m told guys are really holding each other accountable for taking care of their business in the weight room. That should lead to more leadership within the team if peers are comfortable checking each other which is a great thing.
>>The other big reason I feel this offseason is different is the heavy emphasis Duval and his staff place on nutrition. For this strength and conditioning staff, training, nutrition and sleep are all equally important. I’ve been told now by multiple incoming freshman just how intense things are if you miss a meal. Once all of these phases of the team culture are just ingrained as the expectation, it will really help the team.
>>After freshman safety Cam Jones posted a set of pictures on Twitter of him and other freshman showing off their gains, Husker fans noticed that these guys were in a different locker room.
Dawg pound 🐍 pic.twitter.com/cdwGSYkSIk
— Cam jones (@camgonework15) July 3, 2018
It turns out that it’s the auxiliary locker room previously used for extra players that were mostly walk-ons. Now under Scott Frost, the team is going back to using them as freshman locker rooms where you have to earn your stripes to get in the main locker room. People eat this type of stuff up, but I’m curious to see if this works in 2018 the same way it did in 1996. I get the premise though and I suspect if the team starts winning you won’t hear much about it.
>>On July 1, Ohio State got the commitment of 4-star 2020 QB Jack Miller. Why am I telling you about the latest 4-star to commit to Urban Meyer? That would be because 3-star 2020 QB Logan Smothers visited Columbus recently and while he left without an offer, he was not under the impression that the Buckeyes would be filling that QB slot soon and liked his visit. Now that the Buckeyes have taken Miller, the path is wide open to the Huskers landing Smothers sooner rather than later. I still see no reason to back off my prediction of him being the QB in the 2020 class. Check out the hat that his dad was wearing recently.
Happy Anniversary to @Amy_Smothers5 that smile is as beautiful now as it was 24 years ago when you made me the luckiest man on the planet! I love loving you😏 you have been so good for me & our 5 boys🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/2fsVDTTxNQ
— Shane Smothers (@CoachSmothers5) June 26, 2018
>>Here’s something to keep in mind. In the 2018 recruiting class seven of the players that Nebraska signed were committed to other schools at one point. With the staff not being able to use official visits to get early commits this spring, don’t be surprised if they end up hosting and possibly flipping a number of targets they still have on the board. Once prospects can take in a game day with the new look team, there will be guys that give Nebraska another look. The staff has already shown it has the ability to flip guys.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.